I was telling my husband about my midlife crisis and his initial response was, “So, you’re becoming more bullheaded?” I love how he keeps me humble. Actually, I like to put it more like this:
I am becoming okay with me.
I am finally accepting that I am who I am and accepting what I have to share with my corner of the world. For some of you, I am going to be your flavor. And, for others of you, I am not. And, I am becoming more and more okay with that. The only person I can be is me and my goal is to become the best version of myself. It is impossible to be both what everyone needs and to be true to yourself. This is a beautiful world we live in, and it takes all sorts to make the world go round. You might dig my sort, or you might not. I am okay either way.
I love to tell people my age because I didn’t get to be 43 going on 44 by accident. I earned every single one of those years. As I write this sentence, there are tears in my eyes because I am finally learning to appreciate the good parts of me and I am learning to accept my weaknesses in a way that is not debilitating anymore. Oh you guys, this has been such a journey for me and I know that I am not alone. Many of you are somewhere along this self-acceptance path too, and I share my journey to encourage you to fully embrace everything that makes up your magnificent self.
It is really nice to feel proud of myself for the really good parts of me, but, honestly, the most powerful part of my midlife crisis is being okay with the not-so-great parts of myself. Everyone has weaknesses and I am done feeling guilty about having a set of my own. That doesn’t mean that I am done working on them, really the opposite is true. Now, I can embrace my areas for improvement without being defensive. I can laugh at myself. The voice in my head is beginning to say, “Oh silly Ally, leave it to you!” instead of, “Allyson, are you an idiot? Are you ever going to change?”
Part of this journey has been accepting who I am as a writer. Over the course of the past two and a half years, I have written and published four books plus a journal. Three completely different genres of books. Both fiction and nonfiction. What the what?!? Who does that? Me. Apparently I do. Because I have a story to tell about having a serendipity mindset, and it is a valuable story for all ages of readers. We all benefit from looking for happy accidents and beautiful lessons in everything we experience. We all can learn live our most effective lives and can help others around us do the same. That message is consistent in all the books, regardless of the genre or the target audience.
So, over the course of the past nine months or so, I have dabbled in writing yet another type of book. One that is more academic and incorporates lots of research. One that would be published by a huge educational book publisher. One that hits at the heart of who I am as an educational leader. And, I couldn’t do it. I so appreciate writers who publish books full of research and statistics. We need them. It’s just not me. If you know me, you know that I love to have fun, pretty much all the time. And, if I am going to write a book, it is going to be a book that is both fun for me to write and fun for readers to read. I want to add humor and my voice and personality into my writing always, and that doesn’t work for many publishers.
Saying no thank you to that project is, ironically, one of my proudest accomplishments. Writing is my side-hustle. It is not lucrative financially and it is very costly in time. Writing has to give back to my life, my family, and my work as a principal in other ways. It has to fuel my soul, feed my creative spirit, and make me a better person. If I am dreading a looming deadline or struggling to write in a way people are asking me to write, I am not going to be able to be who my family and my school need me to be. And, they come first. Always.
I will write more books, and I hope they will get published. But, they will be books that sound very much like Allyson Apsey books. And, they probably will not be used as college course texts. Although, The Path to Serendipity has been used in a creative online college course, so who knows?!? I do know that they will be fun to write and fun to read, like a party in a book that leaves you better after you read it than you were before.
Oh boy, when I did a little research on the signs of a midlife crisis, I learned that I might be experiencing the opposite of a midlife crisis. Hmmm….maybe I am experiencing “midlife peace”. I like the sounds of that much better anyway. My midlife peace is not done yet and it still might include a convertible sports car or a solo backpacking trip around the world. But, right now I need to clean my house. While I listen to a fabulous audiobook or jam out to 90s R&B.
I am wishing you peace within, whether you are in midlife or not.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. —Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Check out my newest book…a middle grades realistic fiction chapter book called The Serendipity Journal. I am in love with this book for so many reasons, and I hope you and your middle grades readers fall in love with Kip and her journal too!